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May 2008 Archives

May 29, 2008

Webcast: Education, Health and Socio-Economic Developments in Iraq Today

EVENT DATE: 03/27/2008

Morning Session:
Running Time: 186 minutes

Afternoon Session:
Running Time: 102 minutes

Program Description:

Representatives from the U.S. Departments of State and Health and Human Services; the Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine; the Office of Iraq Reconstruction; the International Office for Migration; AMIDEAST; Life for Relief and Development; International Relief and Development; World Learning; and Mobile Medical International Corporation met to discuss their work in Iraq.

Pedagogy in Action Online

The Wired Campus
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Teaching science to undergraduates always seems to be an uphill battle. To help the beleaguered professor, the Science Education Research Center at Carleton College has bundled a bunch of teaching resources into a new Web site, Pedagogy in Action.

Can’t get numbers across to students? The site has modules on teaching with data simulations (a way to help students visualize and relate to abstract statistical concepts) and getting students to devise and test conjectures (which makes them active participants in learning and is a crucial part of the scientific method of inquiry).

There is also a section on “studio teaching”: de-emphasizing lectures and turning the laboratory into a series of interactive workstations, where students meet in groups to tackle in-depth problems, moving from one workstation to the next. The section cautions, though, that the method requires redesigning classrooms and extending class times—things that may run into institutional roadblocks. —Josh Fischman


May 28, 2008

Folklife Concerts from Library of Congress

If you happen to be in Washington D. C. this summer, you might want to inlcude the following programs in your schedule. These programs are part of a concert series presented by the American Folklife Center and the Music Division at the Library of Congress in cooperation with the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. All concerts are in the Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building. More details about the programs are available at

June 19, 2008 at 12:00 noon
MERITA HALILI and the RAIF HYSENI ORCHESTRA—Albanian Music from New York, celebrating 40 years of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance

“Merita Halili raised her radiant soprano in buoyant wedding songs, punctuated by speed-demon accordion from her husband and bandleader, Raif Hyseni.” – The New York Times

July 24, 2008 at 12:00 noon
THE ZIONAIRES—Gospel Music from Maryland and Delaware

"The Zionaires gospel group, who hail from the Delmarva Peninsula, celebrated their 54th singing anniversary on February 17, 2008. For over half a century, they have spread the word of God through music to church and radio audiences on the lower shore of Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware."

August 20, 2008 at 12:00 noon
GARY HALEAMAU–Traditional Hawaiian Music from Las Vegas (The Ninth Island)

"Hawaiian aunties and uncles inspired his mastery of leo ki’eki’e, an unmistakably Hawaiian falsetto style of singing, ..."

May 15, 2008

Harvard Law Faculty Votes for 'Open Access' to Scholarly Articles

May 7, 2008

In a move that will disseminate faculty research and scholarship as broadly as possible, the Harvard Law School faculty unanimously voted last week to make each faculty member’s scholarly articles available online for free, making HLS the first law school to commit to a mandatory open access policy.

"The Harvard Law School faculty produces some of the most exciting, groundbreaking scholarship in the world," said Dean Elena Kagan '86. "Our decision to embrace 'open access' means that people everywhere can benefit from the ideas generated here at the Law School."

Under the new policy, HLS will make articles authored by faculty members available in an online repository, whose contents would be searchable and available to other services such as Google Scholar. Authors can also legally distribute the articles on their own websites, and educators here and elsewhere can freely provide the articles to students, so long as the materials are not used for profit.

To read more:

Free Foreign Language Courses from U.S. Government

Traveling to the French Riviera this summer, or headed to China for the Olympics in August? These free foreign language training courses, developed by the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute, can help you prepare.

Find Visual Resources Online

Visual resources online: Digital images of primary materials on public Web sites
by Anne Blecksmith

C&RL News, May 2008
Vol. 69, No. 5

When searching for images, the Internet is often the first and sometimes only research resource for scholars and educators, but many open-access digital image collections are part of the deep Web, keeping important visual content out of a search engine’s reach. In recent years, libraries, archives, and historical societies across the United States have created rich online visual resource collections that include a wealth of subjects and media formats. Researchers now have access to millions of primary materials from any Internet-accessible computer, which would otherwise require an in-person visit to the physical collection.

These vast digital collections created by libraries, historical societies, and other specialized collections have consequently expanded the definition of a visual resources collection. Commonly associated with a format collection consisting of analog surrogates, such as slides and study prints, the definition of a visual resources collection should now be considered in a much broader context, thanks to the possibilities offered by digital technologies. In essence, a visual resources collection is a managed repository of reproductions, or surrogates, of original material for teaching and research, making digital visual resource collections an essential component of digital libraries.

This article describes selected online digital collections created by institutions across the greater United States. Rich in images for study, teaching, and other media projects, these digital collections were notable for their open-access, coverage, organization, quality of images and metadata, and ease-of-use.

Read more:

May 14, 2008

Buried Prejudice: The Bigot in Your Brain

May 2, 2008
By Siri Carpenter
From Scientific American

"There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life," Jesse Jackson once told an audience, "than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery - then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved."

Jackson's remark illustrates a basic fact of our social existence, one that even a committed black civil-rights leader cannot escape: ideas that we may not endorse ... can nonetheless lodge themselves in our minds and, without our permission or awareness, color our perceptions, expectations and judgments.

Using a variety of sophisticated methods, psychologists have established that people unwittingly hold an astounding assortment of stereotypical beliefs and attitudes about social groups: black and white, female and male, elderly and young, gay and straight, fat and thin.

The full article is available in the library's Academic Search Premier database. Off-campus users need to log in first. The print issues of the Scientific American journal are also available in the Library.

Turn Your Laptop Into an Earthquake Sensor

May 13, 2008
The Wired Campus
The Chronicle of Higher Education

If Monday’s earthquake in China has sparked an interest in seismology, and you happen to own a Mac laptop, you can transform your computer into your own personal seismic station. A free program from SeisMac takes advantage of the acceleration sensor inside you computer to register when it gets the shakes. The program was developed with support from the National Science Foundation and from the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, a consortium of nearly 100 universities.

In the near future, you may be able to participate in earthquake science through a new project called the Quake-Catcher Network. Researchers from several California universities have created the network to use the distributed power of people’s laptops to provide quick data about the strength of shaking during earthquakes. The program works with many kinds of laptops. Because wireless networks send signals faster than vibrations can spread through the Earth, data from laptops in theory can speed ahead of the shaking and provide advance warning before harmful seismic waves strike regions that are more distant from a quake’s epicenter.—Richard Monastersky

May 13, 2008

China Earthquake Reports

NewsNow, a UK-based news portal, has put up a page with a real-time feed (updated every 5 minutes) with news from over 30,000 sources with news reports about the quake(s).


From ResourceShelf

May 12, 2008

Interactive Physics Simulations from PhET

Fun, interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena from the Physics Education Technology project (PhET) at the University of Colorado.

PhET project is an ongoing effort to provide an extensive suite of simulations for teaching and learning physics and chemistry and to make these resources both freely available from the PhET website and easy to incorporate into classrooms.

The simulations are animated, interactive, and game-like environments in which students learn through exploration. In these simulations, we emphasize the connections between real life phenomena and the underlying science and seek to make the visual and conceptual models that expert physicists use accessible to students.

Our team of scientists, software engineers and science educators uses a research-based approach in our design – incorporating findings from prior research and our own testing – to create simulations that support student engagement with and understanding of physics concepts.

PhET simulations animate what is invisible to the eye, such as atoms, electrons, photons and electric fields. User interaction is encouraged by engaging graphics and intuitive controls that include click-and-drag manipulation, sliders and radio buttons. By immediately animating the response to any user interaction, the simulations are particularly good at establishing cause-and-effect and at linking multiple representations.

For quantitative exploration, the simulations have measurement instruments available, such as a ruler, stop-watch, voltmeter and thermometer. All the simulations are extensively tested for usability and educational effectiveness, and a rating system is used to indicate what level of testing they have received. The tests involve student interviews and use of the simulations in a variety of settings, including lectures, group work, homework and lab work.

May 5, 2008

Trends in Infancy/Early Childhood and Middle Childhood Well-Being, 1994-2006

Source: The Foundation for Child Development

The Foundation for Child Development’s Special Focus Report, “Trends in Infancy/Early Childhood and Middle Childhood Well-Being, 1994-2006,” presents the first wide-ranging picture of how children in their first decade of life are faring the U.S. It is the first report to look comprehensively at the overall health, well-being, and quality of life of America’s youngest children - from birth through eleven years old, using the FCD Child Well-Being Index (CWI), and to track and compare child well-being across three primary stages of development - early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence.

The report is available at

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